Irish Medical Organisation

IMO warns that NCHDs may consider industrial action to address concerns over working conditions


Dr. John Cannon - Chairman of IMO NCHD Committee;

“The HSE and the Government continue to take NCHDs for granted and force them to work illegal hours, often without correct pay and with little regard to their physical or mental health”.


Wednesday 30th March 2022.  The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has called an emergency meeting of NCHDs across the country for Monday 11th April.  The meeting will address the deteriorating working conditions and flagrant contractual breaches faced by NCHDs on a daily basis.


There are over 7,500 NCHDs working in the Irish health services playing critical roles on the front line of patient care and progressing to work as Consultants or General Practitioners.


The Chair of the IMO NCHD Committee, Dr. John Cannon, has today written to all NCHDs urging participating at the forthcoming meeting where the IMO will outline the startling extent of unsafe working hours and the increasing disputes over agreed contract terms.   The meeting will be held virtually.


According to Dr. Cannon, key issues include:

  • NCHDs continuing to be required to work far in excess of legal and safe working hours often in breach of the European Working Time Directive
  • NCHDs routinely being required to work single shifts in excess of 24 hours and over 48 hours a week
  • NCHDs not being paid for all hours worked
  • Inability to take full annual leave or study leave entitlements
  • Rising mental health issues amongst NCHDs
  • Increasing levels of emigration due to toxic working environment


Dr. Cannon said that the NCHD Committee would consider various steps to have the situation addressed including the possibility of industrial action.  He said, “No doctor ever wants to go take industrial action let alone go on strike so the fact that this is even part of the conversation shows how unsustainable the present situation is.”


“The NCHD cohort is critical to the successful operation of the health services and is the lifeblood of the next generation of Consultants and GPs.  But the HSE and the Government continue to take this group for granted and force them to work illegal hours, often without correct pay and with little regard to their physical or mental health”.


“There is a reason why doctors leave Ireland, and we hope that Government and the HSE will pay attention and do something to address the systemic problems in our healthcare system.  However, we will be recommending to our members that if we do not get reasonable and serious engagement there may be no alternative but to consider industrial action because allowing the current situation to persist is just not acceptable.  It is bad for doctors and bad for patients.”

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